How Acrimony Missed the Mark on Mental health and Therapy

acrimony-trailer-screen-shot

Over the weekend, I was finally able to do some self-care and take myself to the movies to see Tyler Perry’s Acrimony. I know many people were concerned about this being another portrayal of an “angry black woman” but I don’t believe it did this at all; it definitely highlighted more of what an mental illness looks like….but not doing a great job explaining it.

If you aren’t familiar with the movie (I won’t give any spoilers) this is what it is about according to IMDB.com “A faithful wife, tired of standing by her devious husband, is enraged when it becomes clear she has been betrayed”. Now, based off of that description I can see how we assumed it was a stereotypical role but it was far from the truth. I want to highlight some of the things that bothered me about this movie and why I wish Mr. Perry would give me a call so I can help him portray these parts in the movie better:

 

  1. The therapist felt cold

I don’t know why movies portray us as only saying the same 3 words and always taking secret notes. We say way more words in a session hence why we say let’s have a conversation. We don’t just say “How does that make you feel” all the time LOL. Another thing, I know for myself when I am taking notes I notify the client that they are welcome to look or ask what I am writing down because we don’t have secrets in our sessions. Also, with the therapist bringing up the borderline diagnosis; that was cold as well! When it comes to personality disorders, it is important to make sure the client is fully aware of why you are diagnosing them at that illness as well as if they are capable of receiving the information. I don’t blame Melinda for getting up and leaving that whole conversation was wrong. The fact that the therapist appeared to be uninviting bothers me. If you are going to portray therapists please do it right.

 

  1. Borderline personality disorder

Let’s be honest: I was happy they didn’t say bipolar disorder because it appears that Blacks are always misdiagnosed with that disorder because of various reasons. In my opinion, the character was not borderline. You know why I can make that conclusion? Because they didn’t highlight enough of the symptoms to talk about any type of diagnosis! Yes, Melinda was delusional about her relationship, but we only know of up to 3 mood swings of anger in her lifetime, she was not suicidal, she did not have multiple short term serious relationships which all are important traits of borderline personality disorder. If you are going to diagnosis a character with a personality or mental disorder please make sure the symptoms are in the movie or don’t bring it up. The therapist in me was like WTF when all of this was going down.

 

  1. Miscellaneous

Now of course I have to mention with Melinda being as delusional and irrational as she was there should have been an involuntary psychiatric hold (5150 in California) or something considering her family was concerned for the safety or her ex-husband and his fiancé. This is another issue in general when it comes to families and mental health. If you know your loved one can harm themselves or someone else get help! This isn’t something you can just pray away or if you spend more time with them it will go away. Her family did that and look what happened ( I won’t spoil the ending). I know this is just a movie and that is what made it exciting; I just wish in my therapist little world they would highlight what to do with severe mental illnesses especially for minority communities.

 

Overall, I say go see the movie! If I was not a therapist, the movie would have been great in my opinion. My therapist brain says SMH we got to do better with portraying mental illnesses and therapy.

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